CHICAGO — In-person learning at Chicago Public Schools has been called off for Tuesday as a winter storm continues to bring snow and below-freezing temperatures to the city.
All Pre-K and cluster students and their teachers will stay home Tuesday for remote learning, CPS officials said. Only essential staff including administrators, custodians, building engineers and food service workers will be required to report to schools Tuesday.
As of Monday morning, 28 inches of snow had fallen in Chicago in the past 19 days, city officials said during a Monday press briefing on the weather.
“Safety is our highest priority which is why we have decided to move all classes to remote instruction for tomorrow, February 16,” CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson said in a statement. “We expect in-person learning to resume on Wednesday and will keep families updated as additional information becomes available.”
Meal distribution at school buildings will continue but could be affected by transportation challenges. District officials say families should visit cps.edu/mealsites or call (773) 553-KIDS on Tuesday to confirm their site is open for grab-and-go meals.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning in effect until noon Tuesday. The heavy snow and low temperatures mean travel will be dangerous, with low visibility on the roads, according to the warning. The city could ultimately get 8 inches to a foot of snow, and it could feel as cold as 20 below zero at points.
“Travel will be very difficult to impossible,” according to the warning. “The hazardous conditions will impact commutes to and from work. Wind chills as low as 20 degrees below zero may lead to frostbite in as few as 30 minutes.”
Near the lake, light snow that started Sunday night will continue until 9 a.m. Monday, at which point there will be heavy snow with 1-2 inches per hour possible, according to the National Weather Service. That will continue throughout the day, though the storm’s intensity will decrease overnight, with light snow expected Tuesday morning.
This week will also see the recent cold spell continue, with an expected high of 15 degrees Monday, according to the National Weather Service. It will feel as cold as 14 below zero, and there will be wind gusts up to 25 mph.
Tuesday will see the snow start to die off in the afternoon. The day will be cloudy with a high temperature near 19 degrees, according to the weather agency.
Travel will be at its most difficult Monday and Tuesday due to the storms, according to the National Weather Service.
Wednesday will remain cloudy and cold, with an expected high temperature of 20 degrees. No snow is expected, though, according to the weather agency.
Thursday is expected to warm up to 26 degrees — but there’s a chance for snow again in the afternoon.
Friday will be mostly sunny with an expected high temperature of 21 degrees.
Staying Safe At Home
Fire Commissioner Richard Ford said Chicagoans should check on their vulnerable neighbors to ensure they stay warm. People should not use their ovens or stovetops to try to warm their houses, and the Fire Department also recommends against space heaters since they’re a fire risk, he said at a news conference last week.
Ford encouraged everyone to make sure they have a working smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector.
And Chicagoans can help the Fire Department by shoveling snow away from fire hydrants, ensuring they’re easily accessible for firefighters in case of emergency, Ford said.
Buildings Commissioner Matt Beaudet also urged Chicagoans to ensure snow from recent storms isn’t covering up homes to their vents, like dryer vents, since that can create safety issues.
All cats and dogs must be brought indoors, even if they’re used to staying outside, according to Cook County Animal Control.
Walks should not last longer than 10 minutes during times there are sub-zero temperatures. Put foot coverings on your dogs if they will wear them, avoid walking them on salted sidewalks and wash their paws with warm water once home, according to the county angecy.
Protect Your Pipes
People can prevent their pipes from freezing by allowing the faucet to “dribble” water, Ford said. If your pipes do freeze, you can use a hair dryer to thaw them, but you should not use something with an open flame like a candle or torch, he said.
Heating Your Apartment
Beaudet said landlords are required to ensure their tenants’ units are heated during this time. Units must be at least 68 degrees during the day and 66 degrees overnight, Beaudet said.
If your landlord isn’t complying, you can file a report with 311. Landlords can be fined up to $1,000 per day per violation, Beaudet said.
Chicagoans who have to travel should keep a pair of gloves, a hat, water, flashlight, communication device, blankets and a cellphone charger in their car, said Josh Dennis, first deputy director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
Helping People Experiencing Homelessness
You can carry hand warmers, gift cards, cash, food and other supplies — like gloves and blankets — with you so you can give them to people who are homeless.
You can share the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless’ guide on where people can turn for help when the temperatures drop. It’s online here.
And you can reach out to local organizations the support people who are homeless, like the Night Ministry and other shelters.
The city’s warming centers are open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. People at warming centers must wear masks and stay socially distant due to the coronavirus pandemic. Information about warming centers is available online or by calling 311.
The centers’ locations:
- 1140 W. 79th St.
- 10 S. Kedzie Ave.
- 4314 S. Cottage Grove ave.
- 845 W. Wilson Ave.
- 8650 S. Commercial Ave.
- 4312 W. North Ave.
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